Who is Captain James Cook?

  • Who is Captain James Cook? | Captain Cook was an 18th-century explorer and navigator whose achievement in mapping the Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia radically changed the western basis of geography.
Captain James Cook(1728-1779). Painted by Nathaniel Dance.
Captain James Cook(1728-1779). Painted by Nathaniel Dance. BHC2628
  • He was born on 27th October 1728 in Yorkshire, England.
  • IN 1755 he enlisted in Royal Navy where he learnt to survey and coastal waters.
  • The incident of crossing the line of sight between the sun and the earth, by the planet Venus motivated Captain Cook In 1769 to start his voyages to explore the world. That incident was visible only to the southern hemisphere.
  • His first voyage is an expedition of the solar eclipse. The crew returned home in 1771.
  • His second voyage was to look for the southern continent in 1772. Due to the cold weather, they returned home in 1775.
  • His third voyage was to search the North-West passage. That was believed to link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
  • On 14th February 1779, he was stabbed to kill at the Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii.

    Voyages of Captain James Cook
    Voyages of Captain James Cook

Early Life of Captain James Cook


  • He was born on October 27, 1728. James was one of nine children.
Captain James Cook's Father's house
Captain James Cook’s Father’s house
  • His parents were in the peasant class. His father was a farm labourer and his mother was a cottager’s daughter. 
  • Within a week of Cook’s birth, he was baptized in the Parish church of St Cuthbert, Marton, on 3rd November 1728.
  • By  1736, eight years old Jame’s father got a job as a foreman at Aireyholme farm near Great Ayton.
  • Then Cook’s family left Marton and moved into the estate cottage attached to the farm.
  • During the next eight years, he attended the local School and his fathers’ employer financially supported Cooks’ schooling.
  • He may have been thought,
      • Arithmetic
      • Writing
      • Religious instruction, at the school.
  • He left Great Ayton and lived in Staithes in early 1745 and in 1755 his father retired from the farm and moved again to the village of Ayton.
Great Ayton in this century
Great Ayton in this century
  • In early 1745, he went to William Sanderson, a merchant and a grocer at Staithes. In there, he experienced seaman life for the first time in his life in a small busy fishing village.

Seafaring Life of Captain James Cook


  • Soon Captain decided to move to Whitby to embark on a seafaring life and left Staithes in mid-1746.
  • In 1746 he became an apprentice to John Walker, a Whitby shipowner.
  • He has sailed in various vessels. Then released from apprenticeship in 1749.
  • In 1755 Captain Cook left his ship and Join the Royal Navy as an able seaman aboard in the 60-gunship Eagle, and was sent to the North American coast.
  • In the navy, James worked his way up through the ranks, eventually rising to command his own survey vessel, unusual for an enlisted man.
  • His first mission was to map the estuary of St Lawrence river prior to a naval assault in Quebec. Later he surveyed the coast of New Foundland.
  • His survey and scientific observations coupled with the scientific ability and patronage of his former commander, Sir Hugh Palliser who chose Cook as the Captain of ship Endeavor in 1768.
Ship Endeavour
Ship Endeavour

Cook’s First Voyage


  • the first voyage of Captain James was a voyage of astronomical inquiry. The capabilities of Cook were put forward by the Royal Geographical Society and accepted by the admiralty and command of the mission.
  • The mission was to calculate the distance to the sun from the earth by the timing of transit of Venus across the face of the sun, in 1969.
  • During his first voyage, he discovered Tahiti.
  • He reached New Zealand during the voyage and discovered the Eastern coast of Australia.
Monument of Captain James Cook in Australia
Monument of Captain James Cook in Australia
  • His ship stuck in the Great Barrier Reef was rescued by his extraordinary talents.
  • He achieved great success in his first voyage and returned home in 1771.

    Cook’s Second Voyage


  • In 1772 his second voyage began, the mission was to determine whether there was a great Southland between South America and Great Holland. If there is, they wanted to claim it for Great Britain.
  • Two ships were sent for the mission. Names were ‘Resolution’ and ‘Adventure’.
Resolution ship
Resolution ship
Adventure ship
Adventure ship
  • In this voyage, he discovered Tuamotu Islands, Tonga, and Fiji Islands until reaching the island what he named New Hebrides island.
  • They Sailed to the South a discovered New Caledonia.
  •  He safeguards the health of his crew for three years and 18 days during this voyage, he lost only four men due to sickness.
  • In this voyage, Capt Cook and his crew became the first who crossed the Antarctic Circle.
  • They returned home after 3 years of adventure in 1774.
  • He was awarded the Gold medal which award by the Royal Society for this bravery.

Cook’s Third Voyage


  • In 1776 Cook cruised his last voyage to explore the Pacific ocean and to investigate the presence of an exit from the North-West passage.
  • In 1778, he discovered Sandwich Island which is known as the Hawaiian Islands now.
  • They couldn’t find the path so that they stayed in Hawaii after a great welcome and general hospitality for over a month, it became obvious that newcomers were beginning to overstay their welcome.
  • Finally, ships were sailed in 1779, but after playing horribly seas over a week, “Resolution” was badly damaged and he sailed back to the Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii.

    Captain James Cook in Hawaii
    Captain James Cook in Hawaii

Death of Captain James Cook


  • After a series of misunderstandings and skirmishes, especially for a steeling a boat from his ship, there was a fight between a crew member and a Hawaiian. for that, all the Hawaiians who were nearly 20,00 went wild.
  • Due to that incident Captain James was surrounded and got hit on the head.
  • He was stabbed to death afterwards.

Chronology of Captain James Cook


  • 1728 – Born at Marton
  • 1736 – The Family moved to Ayton where he  attended the village school
  • 1744 – Apprenticed to a grocer at Staithes
  • 1746-1749 – Apprenticed to John Walker at Whitby
  • 1755 – Left Whitby to join the Navy
  • 1768-1771 – First Voyage
  • 1772-1775 – Second Voyage
  • 1776-1780 -Third Voyage
  • 1779 – Death at Hawaii

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